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City Councilman Steve Kornell challenges close friend to a spelling contest

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

Sometimes it’s nice to remember that elected officials are actual, real people. Never has that been more the case than with St. Pete City Council member Steve Kornell’s back and forth on Facebook over nothing other than a spelling contest.

Kornell will be participating in a spelling bee to support adult literacy this Wednesday at Studio @620 at 7 p.m. He’s on a team of four called Wizards of Words.

Teams will compete in 11 rounds consisting of 10 words. At the end of each round the team with the fewest points is eliminated.

Kornell seems super pumped.

“Don’t even try to get a team together — this is high-level competition,” Kornell wrote on Facebook to his friend and former partner, Bobby Poth.

Thus entered quite the challenge.

“So Steve Kornell has challenged me to put a team together and beat him at an adult spelling be (sic) to benefit adult literacy programs in St. Pete on Wednesday,” Poth wrote. “I need three people to make this team complete. Will you help me show Steve that I was both the beauty AND the brains in our relationship? Not only will it be fun to beat him, but it will also be for a good cause! Are you in?”

Sadly, it appears Poth is already off to a poor start having spelled “bee” incorrectly in his post.

The two have brought in a chorus of support from friends on Facebook. The competition for the two could spell good news for the Literacy Council. Teams must pay a $75 fee to register for the competition and spectators can purchase tickets for $7 in advance or $10 at the door.

Ten teams are expected to compete. The event, complete with snacks and beverages, is hosted by “stand-up librarian” Meredith Myers.


Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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